Check out this tired doggy taking a nap in the sun during a windy day. Adorable!
Check out this tired doggy taking a nap in the sun during a windy day. Adorable!
Timo Werner was the headline signing in Chelsea’s $300 million off-season spending spree, a player whose pace and composure in front of goal would supposedly help transform the team into a Premier League title contender. So how has it got to the point where, four months into his time in London, the Germany international has endured his longest scoring drought in nearly five years, is no closer to finding his best role in the team, and was the third and final striker called upon by manager Frank Lampard in a desperate bid to break the deadlock in Chelsea’s most recent game? Werner’s brief appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Fulham on Saturday was a snapshot into the problems of a player who looks bereft of confidence midway through his first season in English soccer. With Chelsea toiling at 0-0 against opponents down to 10 men at Craven Cottage, Werner was finally sent on as a substitute in the 75th minute. By then, Lampard, who started Olivier Giroud as the sole striker, had already brought on another striker in Tammy Abraham. Werner played like someone with one goal to his name in the last two months for club and country, particularly when he was played through on goal deep in injury time and handed the perfect chance to add a second goal for Chelsea. With only the goalkeeper to beat, Werner opened up his body and sent his finish wide. His body language, after that miss and moments later after the final whistle, spoke of an unhappy player, and he was consoled by Lampard as the teams left the field. “Being hard on himself isn't a problem. I hope he feels my support,” Lampard said. “The only way through a patch where things aren't quite going for you is to train and train, keep your attitude right, stay positive.” That must be hard for Werner. Since Nov. 14, the only goal he has scored in all competitions for Chelsea was a tap-in against fourth-division club Morecambe in a third-round match in the FA Cup. That came on Jan. 10 and ended his longest scoring drought — 13 games — since the end of the 2015-16 season, his final weeks at Stuttgart before he joined Leipzig. In four seasons at Leipzig, he never went more than five games without scoring and netted 35 times for club and country in the 2019-20 campaign, his last at the club. While Werner chiefly operated as a sole striker at Leipzig with the license to drift out wide or to drop into the No. 10 position, he has mostly been used on the left wing since his move to Chelsea for $68 million as Lampard dealt with injury issues to his wide midfielders. He has looked lost out wide in some matches, unable to use his pace against opponents often set up in a deep block against Chelsea. It’s no surprise that Werner’s best display of the season was at home against Southampton, when Werner played as a central striker and made the most of the high line to score two well-taken individual goals and set up another for Kai Havertz, another German who has struggled since his off-season switch to Chelsea. It was presumed Chelsea’s ideal front three this season would be Werner up front, flanked by wingers Hakim Ziyech — another of the new signings — and Christian Pulisic, but Lampard has rarely had that luxury. Even when he did, like in the 3-1 loss to Manchester City this month, it didn’t work out well. Lampard suggested recently that Werner, who has only four goals in the Premier League so far, may not have had as many games as he’d like as the sole striker because he didn’t press enough from the front. “It’s normal for Timo and others who came in the forward areas for us to take some time to get used to what my idea is, what their teammates’ idea is, because we haven’t had working time on the pitch,” Lampard said. Yet Werner said in his introductory media conference in September that he’d had a lot of conversations with Lampard — and been sent videos from the coach — about Chelsea’s style of play, and that he joined with the feeling that “the system he wants to play will fit me very well.” That doesn’t appear to be the case. And, when Chelsea heads to Leicester for a Premier League game on Tuesday, it's not obvious whether Werner will be starting on the left, up front, or if he'll be back on the bench. “When you're a top player, as Timo has shown he is, all eyes are on and it becomes magnified," Lampard said. "But the basics are the same and my job is to tell him that." ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at https://twitter.com/sdouglas80 Steve Douglas, The Associated Press
The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported Monday the lowest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since late November. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said the health unit doesn't believe the increase of 35 new cases is related to an intentional delay in test results, but noted there have been big swings in the numbers in recent days. "At this point, I don't have any official notification from the labs about any planned delays in reporting," he said during his daily briefing. "But it is possible due to the high volume, test results are prioritized in a different way, leading to day-to-day fluctuations in our daily case counts." On Saturday, the health unit reported 87 new cases, while there were 270 on Sunday. There are 2,673 active cases in the region, out of a cumulative total of 11,057. Ahmed said he remains cautiously optimistic about the numbers, and noted that taken as an average, the recent numbers still show improvement. Over the past seven days, there has been 177.4 daily reported cases, on average. "I would take that as a good sign for us moving in the right direction," he said. The sharp decline comes after the region saw a weekly decrease in a few key indicators such as case rates and test positivity. But Windsor-Essex is not out of the woods, Ahmed said Friday, and remains one of the regions of Ontario most badly affected by the virus. The last time the health unit reported a daily case count lower than Monday's total was on Nov. 29, when there was an increase of 26 cases. Across Ontario, 40,300 test samples were processed over the past 24 hours, which is lower than many recent days, when that number topped 70,000. Ahmed said the number of people tested fluctuates every day locally, but he doesn't have any reason to believe that the number has gone down in recent days. 1 new death as vaccinations continue in seniors' homes On Monday, the health unit also reported the region's 256th COVID-19 death, a woman in her 90s who was a resident of a seniors' home. Ahmed said vaccinations are continuing at retirement residences this week. While the health unit previously said the initial round of vaccinations could be complete by this early week, Ahmed said it's looking more like Thursday, barring any issues. Vaccinations at the homes are rolling out with varying levels of support from the health unit. Ahmed said some homes don't have the nursing capacity to administer the vaccine to residents themselves. "We are supporting them as quickly as possible," he said. 48 outbreaks active There are currently 48 active coronavirus outbreaks across the region and 119 people are hospitalized with COVID-19. Three outbreaks are active at Windsor Regional Hospital, two on the Ouellette campus and one on a unit of the Met Campus. One community setting, Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario, has been in outbreak since Jan. 3. Outbreaks are active at 23 workplaces: Five in Leamington's agricultural sector. Four in Kingsville's agricultural sector. Four in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector. One in Leamington's health care and social assistance sector. One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector. One in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in a personal service setting in LaSalle. Three in public administration settings in Windsor. One in a retail setting in Essex. One in Essex's finance and insurance sector. There are 21 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities: Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with one staff case. Regency Park in Windsor with two resident cases and one staff case. Richmond Terrace in Amherstburg with two staff cases. Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case. Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with five resident cases and two staff cases. Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases. Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 31 resident cases and four staff cases. Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with three staff cases. Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 30 resident cases and four staff cases. Chateau Park in Windsor with four staff cases. Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 51 resident and 14 staff cases. Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 11 resident cases and eight staff cases. Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and 26 staff cases. Sun Parlor Home in Leamington, one resident case and 10 staff cases. Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 53 staff cases. The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 28 resident cases and 11 staff cases. Extendicare Tecumseh, with 83 resident cases and 57 staff cases. Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 94 resident and 60 staff cases. The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 150 resident cases and 122 staff cases. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 53 resident cases and 25 staff cases. Cases in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia In Lambton County, officials reported two new COVID-19 deaths and 31 one new cases on Monday. There have been 1,647 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. Chatham-Kent saw 46 new cases over the past three days, bringing its total to 1,017, and one additional death. Chatham-Kent does not update its figures on Saturdays and Sundays.
A major Saint John employer is set to shut down this month, when Saputo Inc. wraps up milk processing at its north end plant, affecting 60 jobs. The former Baxter's Dairy plant opened in 1931 and was purchased by Saputo in 2001. Saputo offers products under a multitude of brands, including Baxter, Cracker Barrel and Scotsburn. Almost a year ago, the company announced its intention to close. John MacKenzie, a Saint John city councillor whose ward includes the plant, says the imminent closure will be difficult for the neighbourhood. "It's been around for 90 years," said MacKenzie. "A lot of people have gained employment through that facility. A lot of history … it's really heartbreaking, devastating, for families when a business closes its doors." Dairy farmers hurt too The closure will not only affect the employees at the plant but also local dairy farmers, who had milk processed at the plants. Paul Gaunce, chair of Dairy Farmers of New Brunswick, said the producers will now have to send milk to Nova Scotia or Quebec for processing at their own expense. Gaunce said there won't be any changes to the price of milk because of the changes, but he's still not happy to see the plant shuttered. "I'm very, you know, disappointed because you need processing to keep your industry supported," said Gaunce. "When we lose processing, it just hurts everybody." Saputo earnings fell When the closure was announced last year Saputo said the move was made in an effort to "right size" operations after net earnings for the company dropped by 42 per cent. The company said employees not offered relocation would be given severance packages. MacKenzie said he's confident laid-off workers will find work in the city. "I was looking online this week and I noticed that there were over 290 jobs available," said MacKenzie. "There's opportunities there." MacKenzie said he hasn't heard about any plans for the soon-to-be unoccupied plant, the property is prime for development. "If they sold the property it would make a great spot for some affordable housing with the school right next door and a park behind them and grocery stores within a block," said MacKenzie.
Ontario reported its lowest COVID-19 case count since Jan. 1, with 2,578 new cases confirmed on Monday, but with only 40,300 tests completed.
PERTH COUNTY – In the fallout of the recent issues at Perth County council, many residents were curious how the local political scene is organized. The short answer is much like a relationship status on social media – it’s complicated. Even in North Perth, which is wedged between Huron and Wellington counties, the distribution of municipal responsibilities differs from our neighbouring communities across those county lines. North Perth Mayor Todd Kasenberg said the Perth County powers are very minimalist. He feels that the division of power between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government seems to have been predicated on the idea that the less responsibility the county has, the better. The Municipal Act is a consolidated statute governing the extent of powers and duties, internal organization and structure of municipalities in Ontario, but the act gives leeway for the distribution of responsibilities of the upper and lower tiers of local government. Municipalities are governed by councils which make decisions about financing and services. In Ontario, the head of a lower-tier council is called the mayor or the reeve and the members of council may be called councillors or aldermen. The way councillors are elected differs from municipality to municipality. Municipal councillors may be elected at large or by ward. The Municipality of North Perth is comprised of three wards: Elma, Listowel and Wallace Wards. Voters in each ward can choose only among the candidates who are running for election in that ward. For example, if a municipality has eight council members and four wards, two councillors will be elected from each ward. Each voter chooses two candidates from among the candidates running in that ward. In each ward, the two candidates with the highest number of votes will serve on council. In a municipality where the councillors are elected at large, all councillors represent the entire municipality. In an election, the voters choose among all candidates who are running in the election. The head of council is always elected at large by all of the voters in the municipality. The county council is composed of designated elected members from the lower-tier municipalities. The composition of Perth County council is determined by a Restructuring Order that came into force on Jan. 1, 1998; North Perth and Perth East each have three representatives and West Perth and Perth South have two representatives each. Each December, county council itself selects its head, who is called warden, from among its members. Depending on its size and its history, a local municipality may be called a city, a town, a township or a village. They are also referred to as lower-tier municipalities when there is another level of municipal government like a county or region involved in providing services to residents. There are several separated towns and cities in Ontario and although they are geographically part of a county, they do not form part of the county. Local examples of this are the City of Stratford and the Town of St. Marys. These are single-tier municipalities. A county or regional government is a federation of the local municipalities within its boundaries and they are referred to as upper-tier municipalities. Since the 1990s the provincial government has been encouraging municipal governments to amalgamate with a view that the municipal government provides services most cost-effectively and efficiently. Some local governments joined together voluntarily to achieve sustainable services and municipal infrastructure. In other cases, the province had facilitated amalgamations of municipalities through restructuring commissions and special advisors. Progressive Conservatives under the leadership of Mike Harris in the 1990s implemented changes in responsibilities of local government which led to a massive wave of municipal mergers. The most important changes saw some counties and regional municipalities merge with their constituent local municipalities. As a result, the number of municipalities was reduced by more than 40 per cent between 1996 and 2004, from 815 to 445. In January of 2009, that number went to 444. Consolidation of municipal service management has resulted in the creation of 47 Consolidated Municipal Service Managers (CMSMs) across the whole province. In southern Ontario, the CMSM area is frequently aligned along the upper-tier boundary and includes a separated town or city if one exists within its geographic boundary. The service manager can be either the upper tier or the separated municipality. Under municipal leadership, CMSMs are implementing a more integrated system of social and community health services for delivery of Ontario Works, child care and social housing. When looking at services provided to residents, it is important to understand how municipal governments relate to the other orders of government in Canada – the provincial and federal governments. Although North Perth CAO Kriss Snell said municipal staff are happy to point residents to the proper level of government to get the help they need, there are many duties a municipal government is too small and localized to service. Separating the duties of the provincial and federal government from the shared duties of the municipal tiers will give citizens an idea of what their local government cannot help them with. The federal government has the big powers “to make laws for the peace, order and good government of Canada” except for subjects where the provinces are given exclusive powers. Among the many exclusive powers of the federal government are citizenship, criminal law, copyright, employment insurance, foreign policy, money and banking, national defence, regulation of trade and commerce and the postal service. According to the Constitution Act, 1867, everything not mentioned as belonging to the provincial governments comes under the power of the federal government. The provincial government has the power to enact or amend laws and programs related to the administration of justice, education, hospitals, natural resources and environment, property and civil rights in Ontario and social services. The province directly funds or transfers money to institutions to ensure the delivery of these responsibilities; provincial highways, culture and tourism, prisons and post-secondary education. The provincial legislature also has power over all municipal institutions in the province so the powers of municipal governments are determined by the provincial government. Municipal governments in Ontario are responsible for providing many of the services within their local boundaries that residents rely on daily such as airports, paramedic services, animal control and bylaw enforcement, arts and culture, child care, economic development, fire services, garbage collection and recycling, libraries, long-term care and senior housing, maintenance of local roads, parks and recreation, public transit, community planning, police services, property assessment, provincial offences administration, public health, sidewalks, snow removal, social services and housing, storm sewers, tax collection and water and sewage. However, there is some leeway in the way these duties are divided up between the upper and lower tiers of municipal government. “You can look at Oxford, at Wellington, at Huron and you’ll see that those counties have more power and they do more because the lower tiers have consented to upload some of that stuff,” said Kasenberg. “I think that’s because over history those lower-tier governments just felt they didn’t have the resources and it made more sense to have a centralized function and do this efficiently for three or four of them.” Looking at the model of upper-tier municipal government in midwestern Ontario, Kasenberg said Perth County is the leanest of all. “There has been a longstanding reluctance to give the county any significant authority or power over things that are lower-tier matters,” he said. Municipal governments in Ontario spend billions each year to provide the public services that meet these important needs of Ontario residents. Most of the money for financing these services comes from the property taxes paid by residents and businesses. Additional funding comes from user fees or non-tax revenue such as parking fines. Property taxes are calculated by multiplying the assessed value of a property by a tax rate which is made up of two parts; the municipal tax rate, which is set by the upper and lower-tier municipal governments, and the education tax rate, which is set by the provincial government. A municipality can set different tax rates for different classes of property. The main classes include residential, multi-residential, commercial and industrial. The services the County of Perth is responsible for are economic development and tourism, emergency management, paramedic services, provincial offences court, prosecution services, administration and collection of fines, archives services, county planning, county roads, bridges, traffic signals and controls and tax policy. Several services are paid proportionately by the county but delivered by local partners such as social services, delivered by the City of Stratford, health services, delivered but Perth District Health Unit, seniors services, delivered by Spruce Lodge Homes for the Aged, and cultural services, delivered by the Stratford Perth Museum Board. North Perth and the other lower-tier governments across the county provide animal control and bylaw enforcement, municipal elections, fire services, libraries, policing, licensing, local roads including sidewalks, planning and zoning, parks and recreation and property tax administration. So, dear resident of North Perth, this may not have been the most exciting thing you’ve read today, but perhaps it will clear up what local level of government you need to contact when satisfying your municipal needs. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
DÜSSELDORF, Germany — Underwhelming at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic has a second chance to prove himself at the German club where he made his name. The Serbian striker came off the bench in his first game back on loan in the Bundesliga on Sunday and scored two goals, lifting Eintracht Frankfurt to a 3-1 victory over Schalke. It was an explosive half-hour cameo as Jovic sent a rising shot into the roof of the net off, then added another in stoppage time after beating a defender with his footwork. That was as many goals as he scored in 19 months with Madrid. “Couldn’t have imagined a better comeback,” Jovic wrote on Instagram. “I hope this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come.” Frankfurt teammate Djibril Sow recounted a pre-game conversation where Jovic said he would score once if given 15 minutes of game time, twice if he had a half hour. “He kept his word,” Sow said in comments reported by the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper. “And it isn't something you can take for granted to deliver like that in your first game. A lot of class.” If he can keep it up, that kind of scoring form could bring Jovic back to relevance in Madrid after spending 2020 in the spotlight more for his injuries and conduct amid the coronavirus pandemic than for his increasingly rare appearances. Jovic's record of two goals in 32 games for Madrid is far below the form — 27 goals in 48 games for Frankfurt in 2018-19 — which earned him a transfer to Spain for a reported 60 million euros ($72 million). That reflects Jovic's limited game time in Madrid, with only 11 starts, and his own less-than-stellar performances. Jovic looked visibly frustrated in his last start for Madrid in one of the most ignominious games in the club's recent history, the 3-2 home loss in October against a Shakhtar Donetsk team so badly depleted by coronavirus cases that it had to draw on youth players. The pandemic threw Jovic's career into turmoil. In March, he travelled home to Serbia when the Spanish league was suspended and was pictured at a party. Jovic faced a possible six-month prison sentence for breaking quarantine but the case was resolved when he agreed to pay 30,000 euros ($36,000). When the Spanish league resumed, Jovic was sidelined with a foot injury he picked up while training at home. He missed yet more games after testing positive for the coronavirus in November. Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane gave few opportunities to Jovic but in October said the striker was an important part of his squad. Zidane said he was the one who asked Madrid to sign Jovic and dismissed reports of a rift between them. If Jovic can keep scoring for Frankfurt, it could also be what the club needs to fulfil its potential. Frankfurt has excelled in knockout competitions in recent years with a German Cup title and a run to the Europa League semifinals, but hasn't been able to get above mid-table in the Bundesliga. After Sunday's win, the team is three points off the Champions League places. “For Luka, it's extremely important that he comes back here, where he had his best time and where he feels good," Frankfurt coach Adi Hütter said. “Scoring two goals like that shows his class.” ___ AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni in Madrid and Associated Press writer Dusan Stojanovic in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this report. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports James Ellingworth, The Associated Press
The McKellar council says it supports the upgrade of unassumed roads within the township. Here are five quotes that capture the discussion from the Jan. 12 council meeting: 1. “This is simply formalizing the process that we did last year, and of course, the word unassumed roads means municipally owned unassumed roads — these are not private roads,” said Coun. Don Carmichael. “We’ve already done Bailey’s (subdivision) and Craigmoore is scheduled for the spring.” 2. “Somebody argued, ‘Why should the municipality put any money on these roads?’ Well, it is the betterment of the township overall in the long run,” said Coun. Morely Haskim. “Somebody argued, ‘It doesn’t affect the vast majority,’ but it does, if you have a subdivision like that and all of a sudden they’re selling as a township-owned, maintained year-round road those properties are going to sell for more than a road that is not maintained by the municipality.” 3. “The resolution seemed a little bit too open-ended, I just thought that maybe it should be more specific regarding which roads that this focusing is going to be on … some type of report from the public works superintendent in regard to what this entails,” said Coun. Mike Kekkonen. 4. “As they get approval by the owners, we have a staff agreement/contract ready, then they can start to be moved forward. There’s not that many but it’s going to take time to get them all,” said McKellar’s Mayor Peter Hopkins. “So there’s a timeline, an open-ended one, to get the agreements in place.” 5. “This is supplementary to the roads policy we approved … it’s a policy that talks about the fact that we have legal liability on municipally owned roads even if we don’t assume it — that’s been clearly demonstrated in the courts so that’s part of the reason why we’re actually interested in doing this,” said Carmichael. According to a report submitted to council, featured in the Dec. 8, 2020 agenda package, the 2020 approved capital budget for the Bailey’s subdivision project was $83,360. The report given by Greg Gostick, road superintendent, states that the total cost for the project, excluding municipal staff time, was $76,867.31 and the cost of staff time to complete the project $14,824.91, bringing the total cost to $91,692.22. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
WINGHAM – The Wingham Columbus Centre needs help, General Manager of the centre, Susan Doig said in a letter to council in November. “Most of the 2020 bookings are just a rental, off-site drop off or a takeout meal. We have no way to generate the revenue in this pandemic, with the restrictions put on our limits to using our inside spaces,” she said in the letter. Doig wrote the letter to open a discussion with council to see “what could be done,” specifically regarding their semi-annual payment that helps to cover the cost of utilities and pay down the North Huron Wescast Community Centre deficit. “Usually, I count on the revenue from the Christmas season to help make our December payment, but this year is an exception to that rule.” She added, “We have been trying to plan different take-out options and have upped the game on the homemade soups and TV-style dinners, but that isn’t nearly enough business to come up with $16,554.50.” According to a report presented to council on Jan. 11, “Upon receipt of the letter, staff met with the General Manager of the Wingham Columbus Centre to discuss the situation and gather more information.” In late December, a second meeting was held with Doig, Coun. Palmer and the North Huron director of recreation and community services. Similar to the other local facilities, the Wingham Columbus Centre has pursued various opportunities to generate revenue and mitigate costs. These opportunities include: -Application for the received 75 per cent wage subsidy for the 12-week period it was available. They were able to secure an interest-free loan from the government. The funding received was used to pay the first installment (in June 2020) for utility costs as per the agreement with North Huron. -They investigated the rent subsidy program through the government. The group found they were not eligible for the funding because the wording in their lease agreement does not indicate they are paying for “utilities” or the “lease” of the facility. -The heat/air settings in the facility were lowered to reduce costs. -Decreased cleaning staff hours as a result of there being no rentals -Have been communicating with their MPP and MP with respect to financial support being needed. -Monitoring government websites and investigating new funding programs announced that support COVID-19 recovery. -They have also been holding monthly Fish Fry’s (pickup only) and organized additional luncheon/supper meals (pickup only) as fundraisers.” The Wingham Columbus Centre’s lease agreement requires an annual financial contribution of $41,800. The commitment has three sections, $19,300 goes towards utility costs, $10,000 to the payment on the overall deficit of the community complex and $12,500 towards a pledge made by “each of the Knights personally,” for the construction of the facility. The Knights have indicated that they will be able to make good on their annual pledge payment. “After a lengthy discussion the agenda item was deferred until the Feb. 1 council meeting to allow for council to be circulated with a copy of the current agreement and potential deferral payment options,” Carson Lamb, clerk of North Huron, said in an email. Additionally, the North Huron Wescast Community Complex was broken into last month, as reported by Wingham Advance Times. $180 cash was stolen and a canvas bag from one of the offices was taken. OPP are actively investigating this incident. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive arm on Monday defended a decision to send a team of senior officials to Lisbon for a meeting with Portuguese government ministers, after two ministers tested positive for COVID-19 and a number of top officials went into isolation. Eight members of the European Commission paid a one-day visit to Lisbon Friday — as Portugal started a month-long lockdown — for meetings early in the country's six-month term as EU president nation, which began on Jan. 1. Portugal’s finance and labour ministers later tested positive for the virus, while three other ministers have gone into isolation after coming into contact with people who tested positive. Two EU commission vice-presidents and a commissioner are in quarantine. Asked why it was so important for the visit to go ahead, commission spokesman Eric Mamer said the decision to meet face to face rather than via videoconference — like most EU meetings over the past year — was “not taken lightly.” “It is the launch of an extremely important presidency. There are many, many files which need to be carried forward by the Portuguese presidency, and it was felt important to be able to hold in-person discussions on these different political files,” Mamer said. Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said Wednesday that the pandemic is “at its most dangerous point” in the country and that the new lockdown would last at least a month. Staying at home is mandatory, including for work, and fines for not complying with rules such as to wear masks oiutdoors have doubled. Schools remain open, along with companies providing essential services. Mamer said the commission officials in quarantine would respect Belgium’s coronavirus rules and take a test on the seventh day after their return from Lisbon. In August, the EU’s chief trade negotiator, Commissioner Phil Hogan, had to resign after he admitted flaunting some measures during a summer stay in his native Ireland. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
On peut dire que la jeune artiste Janik Marceau a une vie assez occupée. Celle qui est intervenante au Centre d’action bénévole de Jonquière, assistante de cours en travail social et étudiante à la maîtrise dans ce domaine trouve tout de même du temps libre pour faire la réalisation de toiles, d’objets décoratifs et de dessins qu’elle affiche sur sa page Facebook. L’artiste de 27 ans originaire de Chicoutimi se souvient qu’elle a toujours été attirée par les arts. « Depuis très jeune, j’adore dessiner, j’adore créer. J’ai toujours eu ce côté artistique, depuis que je suis toute petite », se remémore-t-elle, lors d’un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Depuis quelques années, elle considère cette passion un peu plus sérieusement. Elle a mis sur pied une page Facebook, afin de montrer au public ses plus récentes créations. Près de 900 personnes suivent cette page. Divers médiums Janik Marceau a bien des talents. Au début, l’artiste se concentrait sur des toiles en acrylique, surtout d’animaux, mais crée maintenant au gré de ses inspirations. « Je suis une fille passionnée et quand j’entreprends quelque chose, je suis mes inspirations, même si elles sont nombreuses et souvent toutes en même temps. C’est ce qui fait que mon art est aussi diversifié », explique l’étudiante à la maîtrise en travail social. C’est d’ailleurs son inspiration du moment qui l’a mené vers l’époxy et la résine, des matériaux qui lui ont amplement servi dans les derniers mois. Elle a créé de nombreuses barrettes à cheveux, plateaux de service pour la cuisine, sous-verre, en plus de toiles abstraites des plus originales. Elle n’a pas de préférences en termes de médium. « Ça dépend toujours du moment. Des fois, j’ai vraiment envie de travailler avec l’époxy, et d’autres, je préfère l’acrylique. J’aime toucher à tout donc ça dépend vraiment du moment, de comment je me sens et de comment je suis inspirée », raconte Janik. Lorsqu’elle pense à son parcours, plusieurs créations la rendent très fière, mais elle se souvient d’avoir été touchée lorsque l’ancien Premier ministre Philippe Couillard a affiché l’une de ses toiles, à son bureau. Il voulait davantage faire connaître les artistes de la région en présentant leurs œuvres à son lieu de travail. Objectifs Janik souhaite qu’un jour, ses œuvres soient exposées dans des galeries d’art. Elle aimerait aussi, quand elle le pourra, participer à davantage d’événements artistiques sociaux. Elle a récemment participé à la boutique éphémère de la Place du Royaume et il y a quelques années, au Salon de la femme. « À long terme, j’aimerais être reconnu autant professionnellement qu’artistiquement. J’aimerais devenir travailleuse sociale, mais mon rêve est d’être psychothérapeute. J’aimerais peut-être même combiner l’art avec la relation d’aide. Je trouve que ça ferait un beau mélange qui combinerait mes deux passions », avoue la jeune femme. Pour avoir plus de détails et suivre les nouvelles créations de Janik, elle invite les intéressés à suivre sa page Facebook. Un onglet « Acheter » permet aux abonnés de voir les pièces disponibles et de poser leurs questions. L’artiste fait aussi des pièces sur mesure.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
THE LATEST: There have been 1,330 new cases of COVID-19 and 31 deaths in B.C. in the past three days. The Sunday-to-Monday jump of 301 new cases is the lowest level of one-day growth since Nov. 3. Active cases are at their lowest since Nov. 7. There are currently 4,326 active cases in B.C. 343 people are in hospital, with 68 in the ICU. 13 of the new cases are associated with temporary farm workers who have come to B.C. for work. An outbreak at McKinney Place, which was the deadliest outbreak in Interior Health, has been declared over. 87,346 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The deputy provincial health officer says B.C. is "prepared" to adjust its vaccine rollout in case of shipping delays. Officials say consistency with existing public health measures like handwashing and physical distancing will help ward off new variants of the coronavirus. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says outbreaks are slowing in B.C. and the province is at a "tipping point" that she feels positive about. "Clearly the things we are doing in our community are working," Henry said Monday, acknowledging that outbreaks continue in essential workplaces and long-term care homes. B.C.'s curve has started to bend down again following a bump after the holidays, but health officials are warning British Columbians to keep following public health measures as they watch for two confirmed coronavirus variants in the province. Henry said that while B.C.'s numbers continue to slowly trend in the right direction, the risk of transmission remains high in all areas of the province. B.C. 'prepared' for vaccine delays The federal government on Friday announced Pfizer is temporarily reducing shipments of its vaccine in order to expand manufacturing capacity at a facility in Belgium. The move means there will be fewer shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech coming to Canada until at least March. Henry and Dix said they were disappointed to hear about the delay. On Monday, Deputy Provincial Health Officer Reka Gustafson said the change will mean a drop in vaccinations in B.C., but added the news was not surprising. "This will mean that, for a brief period of time, we will be able to administer fewer doses of the vaccine because we will have fewer doses of vaccine, but we are also assured that this temporary slowdown is to ensure there is increased production as those weeks pass," Gustafson told CBC's The Early Edition. "It's something we planned for. In a worldwide vaccination campaign, we expect fluctuations in supply and we are prepared to change our vaccination campaign to respond." A total of 75,914 people have been vaccinated in B.C. so far. For those people who are awaiting their second dose of the vaccine after already receiving their first, Gustafson said the plan "is still to provide the second dose within 35 days." B.C. monitoring new variants Public health officials are also monitoring new variants of the novel coronavirus, including those first detected in the United Kingdom and South Africa. Gustafson suspects variants have been playing a role in B.C.'s pandemic for some time. "Variants of this virus have likely emerged throughout the pandemic and are probably a big part of the story of why some areas have very big outbreaks while other areas have smaller outbreaks," Gustafson said. "The variants are what we expect. We are going to be detecting them more as our capacity to do genomic sequences throughout the world expands." Gustafson said it's key that the public sticks to existing health measures such as handwashing and physical distancing. "From an individual's perspective, really, there is at this time no indication that the things we do to prevent transmission of this virus don't work [with variants] ... there is no indication people need to do anything different," she said. "I would suggest doing what we're doing right now and doing it consistently." Weekend fines issued On Saturday, Kelowna RCMP issued a $2,300 fine to the organizer of a protest in the city's downtown area. Police did not name the organizer but said it was the third time that person organized a large gathering of people who oppose measures meant to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Also on Saturday, organizers of a planned rally in Surrey in support of farmers in India said the event was unfairly shut down before it could begin. Surrey RCMP said they moved to shut down the protest upon hearing that it would feature a stage and food vendors, which raised concerns about people leaving their vehicles and congregating. B.C.'s current health restrictions are in effect until at least Feb. 5 at midnight. The current orders include a ban on gatherings with people outside of one's immediate household. Tourism industry angst B.C.'s tourism industry said that implementing an inter-provincial travel plan would decimate what's left of the sector's operators, as B.C. Premier John Horgan seeks legal advice on the feasibility of a travel ban between provinces. The B.C. Hotel Association is urging the government to pursue other options to limit the spread of COVID-19. It said that an inter-provincial, non-essential travel ban goes against Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If put in place, the association said it would further cripple a sector that is "barely hanging on by a thread." A non-essential travel advisory remains in place in B.C., including travel into and out of B.C., and between regions. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 5 p.m. PT on Sunday, Canada had reported 708,609 cases of COVID-19, with 75,280 cases considered active. A CBC News tally of deaths stood at 18,014. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Calling an emergency responder. Accessing an affordable housing unit. Children learning inside school buildings, not portables. Patients receiving care in a hospital room, not a hallway. The services delivered in cities are the heartbeat of safe and comfortable communities, ones that attract residents, jobs, and investment opportunities for municipal and regional development. Municipalities own 60 percent of Canada’s infrastructure, according to StatsCan, and bear the corresponding duty to maintain its state of good repair with limited resources. Peel’s cities rely on funding from higher levels of government to provide key services to residents, including local children’s aid societies, healthcare, schools, and social services. A tacit feature of funding to Peel is – no matter the party colours at Queen’s Park or Parliament Hill – the hyper-growth region is not getting its “fair share” of public dollars, despite the equal contribution of local income taxpayers. During the pandemic, the latest examples from Ottawa and Queen’s Park include the federal government’s initial decision to give Toronto $14 million for COVID-19 isolation centres and none to Peel, before local efforts to point out the higher infection rates in the region forced the feds to allocate $6.5 million to Peel. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, despite socio-economic conditions that drove higher case counts in Peel, gave Toronto 17 provincial testing centres, but funded only 4 in Peel, which advocates said was one of the reasons the viral spread was not properly contained in the hard hit region. “What the pandemic has done is put more of a spotlight on how we’re chronically underfunded,” said Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros, of Brampton. “The leader of any political party needs the 905 to win a majority, and we’ve delivered…But when it comes to getting love, we don’t get the love. Why is that?” Local leaders have struggled to glean an answer to this for more than three decades. But what was once a booming battle cry to put pressure on upper levels of government – most recently via a campaign called the Peel Fair Share Task Force – has been reduced like a diminuendo to a restless hum. Nine months shy of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in June 2019, Brampton councillors began making some noise through demands for increased funding to address its healthcare emergency. They highlighted the dangerous lack of hospital beds in the city, which has less than half the per capita number of Ontario overall. The city receives $1,000 less in funding for healthcare, per person, about half the provincial average. These inequities have been magnified during the pandemic. The region has had the highest infection rates in the province, and residents were put at increased risk because of the chronic failure of healthcare funding, which has left local hospitals particularly vulnerable to capacity issues. Prior to the pandemic, the three full-service hospitals in Mississauga and Brampton were already among the worst in Ontario for performance, with average wait times to be admitted between two-and-a-half and three times higher than the provincial target of 8 hours. As part of its 2020 budget asks, the City launched a “Fair Deal for Brampton” campaign for immediate funding to expand Peel Memorial hospital’s urgent care capabilities, fund the second phase of its build, and create a third healthcare facility. A city of about 650,000 residents, Brampton currently has only one full-service hospital, Brampton Civic, operated by the William Osler Health System. More than one-third of Brampton’s population has at least one chronic condition, and the City says it is projected to have the highest rate of dementia between 2015 and 2025. According to a 2014 study by researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in collaboration with Peel Public Health, the region was headed for a rate of one in six people having diabetes by 2025, largely due to the significant South Asian-Canadian population, which suffers much higher rates of the disease than the general population. At the time, it was one in ten, as reported by Peel’s former medical officer of health in 2018. According to the City’s pre-pandemic data, the emergency department at Brampton Civic was equipped for 90,000 visits a year, but received about 130,000, while Peel Memorial is funded for 10,000 visits a year and received 75,000. Patient-loads have skyrocketed over the course of the pandemic. As of January 15, Osler’s system was treating 109 COVID-19 patients, where about nine weeks ago, patient transfers were triggered around the time when it was treating just 64 people. In October, Premier Doug Ford announced funding to support the addition of 766 beds for 32 hospitals in the province, including 46 at Etobicoke General Hospital, which is also in the Osler system, and 41 beds in Brampton, which has about 60 percent more residents than Etobicoke. The smaller community was also given two testing facilities through Osler during the first half of the pandemic, among the total of 17 in Toronto, while Brampton only had one. The apparent differential treatment between funding the two hospitals under Osler’s management is a snapshot of the issues facing Brampton as it seeks its fair share from the province, Councillor Medeiros said. “They gave [funding] to Etobicoke without any ties. Notwithstanding, it’s the Premier’s riding,” Medeiros said. “Yet, when the City of Brampton is looking for more investment in healthcare, and we're looking to complete the second phase of Peel Memorial Hospital, they say that there’s provincial legislation requirements that we give 20 to 30 percent as a contribution.” A lack of commensurate allocation by the Province and federal governments has also affected Peel’s $1-billion Housing Master Plan, which has not yet been fully funded. The plan seeks to create 280 emergency shelter beds and another 5,300 affordable housing units by 2034. As previously reported by The Pointer, the federal government’s commitment of $276.5 million is on top of the Region’s $333.5 million, which has been criticized by Peel social services staff as being “significantly and disproportionately high.” Regional Councillor Annette Groves, of Caledon, said that local taxes and development charges are not sufficient to support the wealth of services offered by Peel. “I don't think it has anything to do with the current government. I think that it’s been such a long, outstanding battle,” Groves told The Pointer. “The Province has given us some funding to help with the pandemic, and so has the federal government, but again, it’s still not enough because we’re so far behind in terms of, for example, affordable housing.” Both Queen’s Park and Ottawa are guilty of a form of hypocrisy. The federal government sets immigration targets for the whole country, 401,000 for 2021 and growing to 421,000 in 2023. But it does not establish a funding formula for those municipalities that willingly accommodate newcomers. Brampton, over the past two decades, has welcomed more immigrants per capita than any other large city in Canada, but the federal government does little to provide adequate services and infrastructure for the hyper-growth community that openly supports the country’s immigration policies through its growth planning. Queen’s Park, meanwhile, relies desperately on Peel to accommodate the province’s largest share of population growth, but continues to ignore the funding needs it creates through provincial growth legislation, known as the Places To Grow Act. While Mississauga and Brampton rapidly expand, schools, for example, are not brought on line fast enough by the Province, forcing the use of portables, which have become a common feature in Peel’s education landscape. GO services are also glaringly under-funded, as more and more commuters move into the region without proper transportation infrastructure. The list of inadequate funding commitments for Peel grows every year. On top of education and healthcare, affordable housing, transportation, public health, settlement support, legal aid, children’s aid and almost every other funding area are all under-funded in Peel. For example, despite skyrocketing demand, Mississauga’s legal aid clinic receives far less funding per capita than Toronto. In 2019 the co-executive director of the city’s legal aid clinic, Douglas Kwan, said it receives the second lowest funding per capita of all legal aid clinics in Ontario: the lowest – Brampton. Led by Mississauga Councillor Carolyn Parrish, Peel revived efforts in its Fair Share for Peel coalition about four years ago to address its municipalities receiving less than half of the per capita rate of others in Ontario. In the fall of 2017, the Region organized a $90,000 conference with neighbouring municipalities, called the Summit 4 Fair Funding, to encourage a dialogue surrounding funding needs ahead of the 2018 provincial election. According to the Brampton Guardian, the summit was later cancelled after staff were not able to obtain transparent formulas as to how funding transfers were calculated from the provincial and federal governments. The effort followed years of pressure, culminating in an earlier effort in 2011 to assess underfunding and service delivery obstacles including those for seniors, people with disabilities, and victims of violence and abuse. As Peel braces for what February brings during the pandemic, the Region’s Governance Committee continues to advocate for government dollars. After almost a year of neglect, which contributed to Peel’s designation as a COVID-19 hot spot, and its placement in the current lockdown on November 23, the Ontario Ministry of Health recently agreed to a one-time funding disbursement of $14-million to Peel Public Health, to “support extraordinary costs associated with monitoring, detecting, and containing COVID-19 in the province.” Email: email@example.com Twitter: @LaVjosa COVID-19 is impacting all Canadians. At a time when vital public information is needed by everyone, The Pointer has taken down our paywall on all stories relating to the pandemic and those of public interest to ensure every resident of Brampton and Mississauga has access to the facts. For those who are able, we encourage you to consider a subscription. This will help us report on important public interest issues the community needs to know about now more than ever. You can register for a 30-day free trial HERE. Thereafter, The Pointer will charge $10 a month and you can cancel any time right on the website. Thank you. Vjosa Isai, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Pointer
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s planning and development committee has approved a draft plan of subdivision in Lucknow, for Hellyn Development Inc. The plan calls for development of a 5.109-hectare parcel of land on the west side of Lucknow with 28 detached dwellings, four townhouse blocks and a stormwater management block. The number of townhouse units will be between 38 and 46, making the total number of residential units 66 to 74. New municipal streets will be constructed, with two connections to Montgomery Lane at Hamilton and Rose streets. According to the report presented to the county in December, “It is a logical infill project in the settlement area that makes efficient use of land and infrastructure. Therefore, the plan is strongly aligned with the ‘good growth’ guiding principle.” As discussed earlier in the fall by Huron-Kinloss council, the plan is good news for the Lucknow community and the wider area of both Bruce and Huron counties. The land is presently used for agriculture, but is designated primary urban communities in the Bruce County Official Plan, and residential in the township’s Official Plan. The property is within the village’s settlement area. Lands to the east and south are residential, with a mix of single-family dwellings, townhouses and vacant lots. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
Two phone apps are aiming to spark Cree and Dene language revitalization in Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) First Nations. Slated for release by the end of January, the MLTC initiative will be targeted for residents of Clearwater River Dene Nation (CRDN) and Canoe Lake Cree First Nation. More versions of the app will be developed for local language variants in MLTC's remaining communities by June, a Friday news release said. "Something like this was needed in our communities," said Abby Janvier, who led the Dene project with residents of CRDN and La Loche. The app teaches its users basic vocabulary that's tailored to their communities, Janvier said. Her community's app features words and phrases under 22 categories that include animals, clothing and common phrases. A typical entry also includes a photo, an English version of the word or phrase and an audio pronunciation in Cree or Dene. Janvier says the recorded component helps to communicate unique sounds that aren't shared with English. "Because our language is taught orally traditionally ... it's hard to teach it just with the written piece of it," she said. The applications use LifeSpark App Builder — a tool that developer Kevin Waddell says has its origins in Cumberland House in the early 2000s. Waddell was working as a computer teacher at the time and noticed many students couldn't speak their language. "That bothered me. I wanted to use my skills to help them learn their language again," he said. Waddell eventually developed the technology as a phone app, allowing other communities to use the tool for their own language needs. It's primarily geared toward Indigenous peoples, he said. Waddell's work has received interest from other groups in Africa and Australia looking to revitalize their languages. Roughly two decades since he began, Waddell said he's pleased to see his work reach students like the ones he worked with in Cumberland House. There are plans for local versions of the app in English River First Nation, Buffalo River Dene Nation, Birch Narrows Dene Nation, Flying Dust First Nation, Waterhen Lake First Nation, Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation and Ministikwan Lake Cree Nation. That's encouraging for Gwen Cubbon, who oversaw the Cree project. She's excited the community's unique blend of Michif, Cree, French and English is represented in the app and that other communities will have the same opportunity. "It's a sense of pride that it's our own," Cubbon said. Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The StarPhoenix
For the last four years, the Dr. Hugh Twomey Health Care Centre in Botwood has been without 24-hour emergency services. Just prior to the 2019 provincial election, then-premier Dwight Ball pledged to bring those services back to the hospital in the fall of 2020 once a protective care unit was finished. According to Exploits MHA Pleaman Forsey, the time has come for the Liberal government to come through on its promises. “We are left with a commitment from the Liberal minister of health to review the service after the long-term care facility was finished in Botwood,” Forsey said in a prepared statement this week. “That’s not good enough.” The provincial government stripped the hospital of the service in 2016 in a move by Central Health to reduce its operating budget. An analysis completed by the Department of Health in 2018 indicated patient data supported the decision. Forsey recently sent an email to Central Health about the issue and was told the new health unit is expected to be in use by the end of this month. “This creates added stress to the residents of the Exploits district,” Forsey said of not having 24-hour emergency services. The provincial government's department of health and community services said in a statement the work on the protective unit was nearing completion and the matter of returning to 24-hour service will be looked at when it is done. "Following the completion of construction, the demand and the staffing will be examined to see whether or not there is a need to change the way emergency services are provided to the people in Botwood," wrote a spokesperson for the department. On several occasions since Ball pledged the return of 24-hour emergency services, the Botwood council has written to Gander MHA John Haggie, the minister of health and community services, regarding the status of emergency services at the hospital. Botwood Mayor Scott Sceviour said responses the town has received have not indicated if or when any announcement will be made about the return of regular emergency services. At the time, the town was caught off guard by the decision to alter the emergency services at the hospital. It was expected to help save money, but the mayor says little money has been saved by the decision. “There was no justification for it,” he said. “It was a surprise to all of us.” Now that the area MHA has brought the issue to the forefront again, Sceviour said the town will write to Premier Andrew Furey about the commitments of his predecessor and bring him up to speed on the situation. Botwood is scheduled to have a council meeting this week, where the issue will be on the agenda. “We are going to hold this government to the promise,” said Sceviour. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
Facebook Inc said on Monday it had started the process of appointing a legal entity as a local representative in Turkey in compliance with a new social media law which critics have said will muzzle dissent. The company said its decision did not change its community standards, which outline what is and what is not allowed on Facebook, nor its process for reviewing government requests. "We will withdraw the representative if we face pressure on either," the company said in a statement, adding that it remains committed to maintaining free expression and other human rights in Turkey.
Norway has stressed that there was no established link between the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the deaths of elderly people who had been vaccinated.View on euronews
President-elect Joe Biden will take the stage for his inaugural address at perhaps the most difficult starting point for a president since Franklin Roosevelt began his first term by assuring a nation scarred by the Great Depression that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself.” But memorable turns of phrase like Roosevelt’s are more the exception than the rule when it comes to inaugural addresses. Former President Barack Obama in his memoir noted that singer Aretha Franklin’s showy hat and a glitch in Chief Justice John Roberts' administration of the oath of office got more attention than his speech in the days following the first Black president’s address, delivered as the nation was mired in recession and a growing malaise over two intractable wars. Now, with the coronavirus raging, unemployment claims soaring and partisan divisions sharpening, Biden faces a fraught moment as he prepares to deliver a speech that aides say he wants to use to “call Americans to unity.” “The situation he faces is absolutely brutal,” said Cody Keenan, who served as a chief speechwriter for Obama and assisted with his two inaugural addresses. He added that Biden in many ways is ”the perfect president for the moment, because he is not hyperbolic, he’s not a bomb thrower, he’s surrounded himself with policy wonks who already have all these plans. I think what we are going to hear him talk about is ‘Here’s where we are, here’s what we have to get done.' I think that’s going to go a long way just to making people feel better." With the current mood of the country, Biden’s consistent focus on restoring “the soul of America” may be of greater value to the nation than any soaring oratory, in the view of some Democratic allies of the incoming president. “It is entirely possible that this inaugural is one we remember for generations to come, because of the gravity of this moment” said David Litt, who served as an Obama speechwriter and wrote the comedic memoir, “Thanks, Obama: My Hopey Changey White House Years.” “But I also think it’s possible that the signature speeches of the Biden administration come at less expected moments and that would be par for the course.” The inaugural address is as much a celebration of the peaceful handover of power as it is a set piece for a new or reelected president to lay out a vision for the nation. In recent memory, inaugural addresses have followed a predictable structure: The nation has challenges but there is hope to solve the problems if the president’s agenda is embraced. One tradition dating back at least to Jimmy Carter’s 1977 inaugural is for the incoming president to offer the nation’s gratitude to the outgoing president — a moment of graciousness intended to put aside the strife of the political campaign and signal to Americans that it’s time to come together as a nation. President Donald Trump won’t be there to hear it. He’s already said he won’t attend the inauguration — the first outgoing president to skip his successor's swearing-in since Andrew Johnson did not attend Ulysses S. Grant’s inauguration in 1869. Ari Fleischer, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush, said there are still ways that Biden’s speechwriting team can continue the tradition of honouring the peaceful transition of power by simply giving a nod to the past presidents and Vice-President Mike Pence, who are expected to be at the Capitol for the address. Biden chief of staff Ron Klain said during a recent event hosted by The Washington Post that the president-elect has been chipping away on the address through the entire transition — taking time every few days to write and rewrite his thoughts. His speechwriting team is led by longtime Biden collaborator Vinay Reddy. More important than flowery oratory is substantively demonstrating how Biden will take steps to begin unifying a country that remains emotionally raw because of the pandemic and a divisive election cycle that culminated with the violent insurrection at the Capitol, Fleischer said. “Don’t dwell on today’s difficulties. Focus on tomorrow’s answers,” Fleischer advised. “Soaring oratory is just not Joe Biden. The effectiveness of his speech is going to be much more about what he says than how he says it.” Edward Frantz, a presidential historian at the University of Indianapolis, said Biden’s daunting moment has parallels to what Roosevelt faced in 1933 as he sought to rally support for his agenda, as well as to Rutherford B. Hayes, who delivered his inaugural address in 1877 after winning by a single Electoral College vote in an election in which he and his allies alleged fraud in several states. In addition to pushing a message of unity for Americans, Biden should signal to the world that the United States will recalibrate after four years of Trump, Frantz said. That may be easier said than done, though. “How do you talk about returning to new normal while also not seeming arrogant about the United States’ position in the world — especially after what’s transpired over the last four years of the Trump administration and also with what foreign observers watched in horror as the riots transpired,” Frantz said. “There really is no parallel to what Biden faces.” ___ Associated Press writer Alexandra Jaffe contributed reporting. Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
Il y a quelques mois, le Québec a fait connaissance avec la pétillante Julie Munger, lors de son passage à l’émission Occupation Double Chez nous. Maintenant que la poussière est retombée, la jeune femme est de retour dans sa réalité, qui a changé du tout au tout, à Chicoutimi. Elle compte maintenant profiter des nombreuses occasions qui se présentent. La maquilleuse est revenue vivre dans sa maison de Chicoutimi, dont elle avait pris possession au début de l’été. Elle vit maintenant avec une amie, ce qui fait que le temps passe beaucoup plus vite, surtout en confinement. « Le retour à ma réalité, qui n’est plus ma réalité, c’est sûr que c’est de l’adaptation. Mais je suis vraiment contente d’être retournée dans mes affaires, dans ma maison, de faire de petits travaux. Ça m’a permis de me remettre à neuf, de prendre un nouveau départ », avoue la candidate d’OD Chez nous, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Progrès. Une année de surprises Julie Munger n’en revient pas : sa dernière année fut remplie de surprises. De son passage à l’émission à aujourd’hui, elle n’avait jamais vraiment pensé à tout ce qui s’offrirait à elle. La Saguenéenne a été complètement sous le choc d’avoir été choisie la candidate coup de coeur de sa saison, à l’automne. Même si plusieurs personnes de son entourage l’assuraient qu’elle serait choisie, elle n’y a pas cru jusqu’à la dernière seconde. « Je ne voulais pas vendre la peau de l’ours avant de l’avoir tué. Je croyais que plusieurs personnes avaient des chances. Mais ç’a été un gros tsunami d’amour et j’ai beaucoup pensé à mon père », avoue-t-elle. Sa mère lui disait souvent : « Pour être aimé, il faut être aimable ! » La maquilleuse pense l’avoir bien écoutée. La Saguenéenne ne s’était pas non plus imaginé toutes les portes qui allaient s’ouvrir à sa sortie de l’aventure. Les Québécois ont déjà pu la revoir à l’écran à quelques reprises, en quelques mois, et c’est loin d’être fini. Après l’avoir vue dans le vidéoclip de la chanteuse Roxane Bruneau, les téléspectateurs ont pu l’apercevoir dans le Bye bye 2020, une émission qu’elle écoute chaque année avec sa famille. « Ç’a été tourné la dernière fois que je suis allée à Montréal, juste après le tournage de L’heure de vérité. Personne ne savait que je me rendais là-bas. Ce qui était drôle, c’est que j’étais la seule candidate qui se personnalisait soi-même. C’est vraiment une fleur que l’équipe du Bye bye m’a faite », admet-elle. C’était une première expérience de tournage de sketches, à l’écran, ce qui est bien différent de ce à quoi elle est habituée. En plus, il y avait une foule de mesures de distanciation en place, ce qui rendait l’expérience d’autant plus particulière. Elle a d’ailleurs beaucoup aimé ce tournage et a même eu l’occasion de rencontrer Stéphane Rousseau et Simon-Olivier Fecteau. Elle a également animé une émission spéciale, en direct d’Instagram, jeudi, organisée par Tel-jeunes, avec une foule de personnalités québécoises à titre d’invités. La soirée avait pour but de divertir les jeunes, qui vivent des moments plus difficiles avec ce nouveau confinement. La suite Julie Munger profite du confinement pour travailler de la maison. Puisque le domaine de l’esthétique est sur pause, elle s’occupe en réalisant différentes collaborations publicitaires sur les réseaux sociaux, pour de nombreuses compagnies. Une foule de projets sont sur les rails, mais la candidate coup de coeur ne peut pas en dévoiler les détails pour le moment. En entrevue avec Le Progrès, elle a précisé que ce n’était pas l’envie qui manquait, d’en dire un peu plus, mais la jeune femme a promis qu’elle pourra en révéler davantage prochainement. Pour le moment, elle admet que l’un de ses projets touche le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. « Je prône toujours la région. Je veux montrer aux autres qu’elle est incroyable, à quel point elle est belle et que c’est beau d’y vivre. J’ai travaillé fort pour avoir un projet en lien avec le Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean », se réjouit-elle. La candidate, qui a participé à Occupation Double pour promouvoir la diversité corporelle, entre autres raisons, sait qu’elle ira probablement plus souvent à Montréal dans les prochaines années, pour différents projets, mais elle tient à rester dans la région, qu’elle considère comme un gros terrain de jeu extérieur.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
NASHVILLE — As their state faced one of its toughest months of the pandemic, Tennesseans watched Gov. Bill Lee’s rare primetime address to see whether new public restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus might be coming. It was late December, and the state’s hospitals were bursting at the seams with virus patients. Spiraling caseloads placed Tennessee among the worst states in the nation per capita, medical experts were warning that the health care system could not survive another coronavirus spike, and Lee had been affected personally -- his wife had the virus and the governor himself was in quarantine. If ever there was a juncture to change course, the speech seemed like the time and place. But as he stood before the camera, the businessman-turned-politician declined to implement recommendations from the experts, instead announcing a soft limit on public gatherings while stressing once again that stopping the spread of COVID-19 was a matter of personal responsibility. Lee’s decision to stick to his approach has dismayed critics who say the state's situation would not be so dire if he had placed more faith in the government’s role in keeping people safe -- criticism he pushes back against as he keeps businesses open. The first term governor’s response has largely been in step with Republican governors in other states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Oklahoma, which along with Tennessee have ranked among the worst in the country as case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations increase while the governors rebuff calls for new restrictions. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University researchers reported 1,236 new confirmed cases per 100,000 people in Tennessee over the past two weeks, which ranks eighth in the country. One in every 187 people in Tennessee tested positive in the past week. “We don’t have to be here. We don’t have to continue this trend. We can do something about it,” Dr. Diana Sepehri-Harvey, a Franklin primary care physician told reporters in a video conference Tuesday. Lee, whose office declined a request for an interview for this article, has rejected claims he hasn’t done enough, countering that he aggressively pushed for more expansive COVID-19 testing throughout the state during the early stages of the pandemic and arguing that sweeping mask requirements have become too political to become effective. He says decisions about masks are best left to local jurisdictions, some of which have imposed them in Tennessee, particularly in more populated areas. According to the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, about 69% of Tennesseans — but fewer than 30 of 95 counties — are under a face mask requirement. Those researchers found that counties that don’t require wearing masks in public are averaging COVID-19 death rates double or more compared with those that instituted mandates. Dr. Donna Perlin, a Nashville-based pediatric emergency medicine physician, sees mask-wearing and other precautions as basic government safety measures. “Just as we have requirements to stop at red lights, or for children to wear seatbelts, or bans on smoking at schools, so too must we require masks, because the refusal to wear masks is endangering our children and their families,” she wrote in a recent editorial. Despite the criticism, Lee hasn’t wavered from his vow never to close down restaurants, bars and retail stores after Tennessee became one of the first states in the country to lift businesses restrictions last year. He also has long advocated for schools to continue in-person learning and has sent school districts protective equipment for teachers and staffers. The governor is quick to point out the state’s swift COVID-19 vaccine rollout, praising Tennessee for being among the country’s leaders in distributing the immunizations. “In addition to creating a strong infrastructure for distribution, we’re currently one of the top states in the nation for total doses administered, vaccinating more than 150,000 Tennesseans in just two weeks,” Lee said in a statement earlier this month, omitting that the state’s initial goal to vaccinate 200,000 residents got delayed because of shipping issues. The CDC reports that 3.7% of Tennessee’s population has been vaccinated, with more than 251,000 shots administered to date — making it among the top 10 states for administration rates. But community leaders and Democratic lawmakers have tried in vain to appeal to the governor in their campaign for a mask mandate and other public health regulations. “What we are doing now is NOT working!” Democratic state Sen. Raumesh Akbari tweeted. “We need a mask mandate, increased testing and contact tracing, and need to consider some business closures. Our hospitals are at the brink! We must act to save lives!” Some have even appealed to Lee's Christian faith, which he regularly touted on the campaign trail and references while governing. “Wearing a mask is loving your neighbour, and taking care of yourself as a Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the Rev. Jo Ann Barker recently wrote to Lee, speaking for the nonpartisan Southern Christian Coalition. “A statewide mask mandate is caring for the community God gives you to care for. If that isn’t important to you, Governor Lee, then what is?” ___ Associated Press writers Jonathan Mattise and Travis Loller contributed to this report. ___ Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak. Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press